When it comes to their daily coffee, many people choose the to-go option and quickly dispose of the cups afterwards. Stora Enso and Huhtamaki now want to recycle these cups. (Image: Stora Enso)
A coalition for more and better cup recycling
A new project for recycling paper cups has been launched in the Benelux countries. Stora Enso and Huhtamaki want to increase the recycling rate of wood fibres with The Cup Collective. Often, after only a short time of use, paper cups for to-go drinks end up in the rubbish or, even worse, in the environment.
Currently, many of the cups cannot be recycled and made into new products because they are not collected properly. With their initiative, the two companies now want to enable the recycling of used cups on an industrial scale.
The aim of the initiative is to develop a systematic European solution for the collection and recycling of paper cups. To this end, the two companies are inviting others along the value chain to join The Cup Collective. The importance of a recycling solution for paper cups is also reflected in the EU's recycling targets for paper and cardboard packaging: by 2030, the recycling rate is to be 85 %.
(Image: Unsplash/Honey Fangs)
No recycling without a suitable collection infrastructure
A major problem in recycling the paper cups is the correct collection. Often the cups do not end up in the right recycling stream and are thus lost. Thus, the aim of The Cup Collective is to create a collection infrastructure to enable the subsequent recycling of the valuable raw materials contained in the cups. Initially, collection containers for to-go cups will be installed in the greater Brussels and Amsterdam areas. In restaurants, cafés, office buildings and at transport hubs, consumers and businesses will have the opportunity to return their cups for recycling.
"Huhtamaki is a world leader in the development and manufacture of recyclable fibre products. For us, every cup counts. We want to take the next step and ensure that recyclable cups are also effectively recycled. We have brought together the best expertise from Huhtamaki and Stora Enso to create this new vision for cup collection and recycling on an industrial scale".
Eric Le Lay, President, Fiber Foodservice EAO at Huhtamaki
Stora Enso and Huhtamaki are working together with the British company Co-cre8 – co-cre8.earth to manage the project. The company specialises in the development and implementation of recycling systems in Europe. In its first two years, the initiative aims to recycle half a billion paper cups and further expand the volume. The project will initially be financed by the two companies, but is expected to be self-sustaining in the long term.
"Stora Enso wants to accelerate the recyclability of all packaging materials, and we have an excellent foundation to achieve this. The cardboard we produce is designed to be recycled, and our own production facilities, including Langerbrugge in Belgium, can process and recycle cardboard cups into new fibre-based products. By partnering with Huhtamaki and Co-cre8, we are now able to provide a platform to collect and recycle fibre from paper cups on an industrial scale".
Hannu Kasurinen, EVP, Stora Enso Packaging Materials Division